December 4, 2009

Book Club 2009 Recap

Another of my 2009 intentions was more purposeful reading. I love books and discussing them with people, but have found some book clubs hard to coordinate with schedules, etc.

This year I started one at work. We meet over the lunch hour near the end of each month. Its taken awhile to find our groove re: choosing books. Now I have everyone send me suggestions, we vote and then the top three books are selected for a three month period. Here's what we read this year.

Then We Came to the End B-
This was a hard book to read when we did (economy crumbling, people losing their jobs, scary times). It just hit too close to home, but parts of it were funny.

Me Talk Pretty One Day A
This was the only book I'd read previously. I adore David Sedaris and it was just as good the second time.

Nobody's Fool B+
Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors, but this book was LONG. We had to extend it into April for everyone to finish. I liked it, I just didn't love it.

I'm Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing but True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, and Friend to Man and Dog B+
Funny, good stories

The Pact A-
Ooh, this book prompted our best discussion to date. Personally I think Jodi Piccoult's writing is overwrought and she adds about 30 pages to her books with over the top descriptions, but darn if she doesn't tackle thought provoking topics. BTW, there's a made for TV movie that was just horrendous.

The Middle Place B+
I liked this book, but I don't really feel like it accomplished what I thought it would. The author describes the middle place as when you are both a mother and daughter. Through the lens of a cancer diagnosis, she spends a lot more time on her relationship with her dad and the past. I was looking for more about the push and pull of being a mother with breast cancer dealing with her father's cancer diagnosis.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society A
Oh, I adored this book. Perfect summer reading. I happened to read it on a trip, which made it all the more romantic. The letters take a while to get used to, but it was so good!

The Help A++++++
There's a reason this book stayed at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. Kathryn, what happens to Skeeter? We want to know!

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's A
I enjoyed this book very much, especially given my mother's profession. She's been working with students with on the autism spectrum for the last 10 years or so (something like that). It was a refreshing look at the world through an Aspergian's eyes.

Sarah's Key A-
This book was much faster read than I anticipated a Holocaust book to be. I enjoyed it to my surprise, especially the first half with switches back and forth between present day Paris and the the Vél' d'Hiv' roundup in 1942.

So Long at the Fair ?
We combined our November and December meetings and early feedback on this one wasn't so hot, so I've been reading Julia Child's My Life in France instead. I may read it over the holidays depending on the reviews at our next gathering.

Next I'll review the non-book club books I read this year.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Sometimes authors use a novel or screenplay to support political or social beliefs; or to cry out for morality and ethical principles. This is no more clearly evident than with Holocaust books and films. Whenever we stand up to those who deny or minimize the Holocaust, or to those who support genocide we send a critical message to the world.

We know from captured German war records that millions of innocent Jews were systematically exterminated by Nazi Germany - most in gas chambers. Despite this knowledge, Holocaust deniers ply their mendacious poison everywhere, especially with young people on the Internet. Holocaust books and films help to tell the true story of the Shoah, combating anti-Semitic historical revision. And, they protect vulnerable future generations from making the same mistakes.

I wrote Jacob's Courage to promote Holocaust education. This coming of age love story presents accurate scenes and situations of Jews in ghettos and concentration camps, with particular attention to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. It examines a constellation of emotions during a time of incomprehensible brutality. A world that continues to allow genocide requires such ethical reminders and remediation.

Many authors feel compelled to use their talent to promote moral causes. Holocaust books and movies carry that message globally, in an age when the world needs to learn that genocide is unacceptable. Such authors attempt to show the world that religious, racial, ethnic and gender persecution is wrong; and that tolerance is our progeny's only hope.

We need books and films that allow individuals to comprehend the terror experienced by Holocaust victims on a personal level. They reveal the horror of genocide and the triumphant spirit of humankind.

Charles Weinblatt
Author, "Jacob's Courage"